I’m Already Dead

I recently read about a man who visited a leper colony in Calcutta, India. He met a beautiful young English woman in the colony who was holding a diseased and disfigured crying baby to her chest. She was gently cradling the child and singing lullabies. After observing this maternal act of selfless love, the young man asked the lady, “Aren’t you afraid you will catch that child’s diseases?” To which she replied, “Why would I be afraid? You see, sir, I’ve already died. I’ve been crucified with Christ, so my life is now His.”

She was quoting Gal. 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” The Scripture makes it very clear that when a person comes to Christ by faith, they essentially died on the cross with Jesus. They are no longer their own, but have died to the former life of following sin and receive new life in Christ. Perhaps the place in the New Testament where this is most poignantly described is Romans 6. Take a minute some time today and read that chapter. Here is an excerpt from Rom. 6:5-8- “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”

Our faith in Christ unites us not only to new life through the resurrection of Jesus, but also to His death on the cross. The old self in bondage to sin dies as a result of Christ’s death on the cross and my faith in Him. Paul is not saying in these words that we will stop sinning on this earth. We will always struggle with sin because of our sin nature and the fact that we live in a fallen world. However, in Christ, the penalty of sin (that aspect of sin that condemns us to God’s judgment) and the power of sin (that aspect of sin that makes us in bondage to it) is broken. Yes, we still struggle with sin, but we are no longer enslaved to it. We are now slaves of Christ (Rom. 6:16-22). As a result, who we were before Christ is now dead. We are made new in Him: 2 Cor. 5:17-18- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” As Christians, we have indeed died, but are alive in a completely new way. The second half of Gal. 2:20 reads, “And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Karl Marx once said, “A communist is a dead man on reprieve.” Oddly enough, and in a very different sense, that is true for Christians.

In his commentary on Romans, Kent Hughes makes the interesting connection between objects entering a black hole and believers who have died and been changed forever by Christ. Hughes writes, “A black hole is a collapsed star of such density and gravity that nothing can escape from it, not even light, which is why it appears as a dark spot in the heavens. Objects rushing toward it approach the speed of light as well as approach infinite mass; as a result, the normal laws of physics tend to lose meaning at the center. No one knows what happens when an object reaches the center, but some have speculated that for reasons beyond most people’s ability to grasp, an object might shoot through the “hole” and pass into another time period or existence. I have no idea whether such speculations are true. But it occurs to me that passing through a black hole is an apt illustration of a Christian’s having died to sin and having been raised to new life in Christ– if for no other reason than that he or she cannot come back. Anything that has gone through a black hole has passed through it forever. Similarly, anyone who has been united to Christ has died to sin, is on the way to God, and can never return to his or her former sphere of existence.”

James Calvert was a young pioneer missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands. En route, the ship captain tried to discourage Calvert from going to minister to the cannibals. Eventually, the captain pleaded with Calvert in desperation, “You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages.” To which Calvert replied, “We died before we came.”

Have you truly died? Does your life exhibit still exhibit bondage to sin or transformed life in Christ?

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3 Responses to “I’m Already Dead”

  1. Good word Bro.! “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Gal. 5:24 Oswald Chambers, commenting on this verse, said, “Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence (your right to yourself)”. And HE said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and “take up his cross daily and follow me.” There are days when I forget to do that.

  2. Such an absolutely vital understanding without which we struggle so unneccesarily. In Christ JESUS we are truly free.

  3. It’s awesome that we no longer have a sinful nature, but are now a new creation in Christ. Yet, we still struggle against the flesh, the world, and Satan. As the writer of Hebrews says, we have been made holy but are bring made holy. Conduct will never totally line up with our new nature in Christ until we are eventually glorified.